Commentary: The social media façade

What happened to online authenticity?

Social media was originally intended to be a place for people to share real memories and communicate with their friends around the world. When I was younger, I viewed it as a safe place to share my thoughts and destinations without having to worry about judgement or comparison.

But like all things, it has evolved.

Rather than scrolling through unedited photos that took little effort to take, I see premeditated vacation photos and selfies that took hours to edit. I see unoriginal poses with specific angles that always seem to accentuate a person’s body appearance. I see deception.

It is so easy to hide behind a screen and pretend to be somebody you are not, and social media is the perfect catalyst for it all.

It is so easy to hide behind a screen and pretend to be somebody you are not, and social media is the perfect catalyst for it all.

— Sophia Harrimoto

We have the gracious liberty to carefully select which photos we want to share with the internet, and consequently, it seems that we tend to share moments of satisfaction and pride rather than of sorrow and embarrassment.

We feel the need to display the best version of ourselves online even if our best version is not ourselves.

Why? Because we desire verification from our peers, and the best way to achieve this form of verification is by copying what everyone else is doing.

Whether that means in the form of likes or comments, we want to be noticed and loved, even if it means we have to pretend to be somebody we are genuinely not.

However, this façade we wear online is detrimental to the overall health and well-being of our society.

We try so hard to fit in with our peers, that it starts to tear away at our own self-worth.

We can’t help but compare ourselves to those who are incomparable, and as a result, we try to change our natural habits in order to conform to society’s standards.

And, even though society’s standards are impossible to satisfy, we continuously beat ourselves up thinking that we are not enough. Our self-consciousness often leads us to adopt unhealthy behaviors and habits that are detrimental to our overall health.

This feeling contributes to the increasing mental health statistics that are correlated with social media.

According to a study performed by a psychology professor at San Diego State University, people who spend five or more hours on social media were 71% more likely to have suicide-related thoughts than those who spend only an hour online.

The more hours we spend on social media equates to the more time we start doubting our worth.

Although the rise of social media is inevitable, its drastic effects on mental health can be prevented, and it starts with being authentic online.